The Obama campaign calls its "Vote for Change" voter registration drive a mere voter registration drive. Nothing to see here, folks, except for ordinary people helping ordinary people gain the franchise.
But it's more than that. The Vote For Change program will lay the foundation for Obama's general election get-out-the-vote efforts. Obama aides won't say much more, but I gather that the campaign is constructing an incredibly elaborate online interface to allow its more than a million donors and volunteers to directly persuade their neighbors through a variety of media. Names gathered from the voter registration effort will be merged with names gathered through Obama's primary efforts and the names off of the Democratic Party's integrated voter file as well as lists purchased from outside vendors.
On election day, Obama might have more than a million individuals volunteering on his behalf. That should scare the beejeesus out of the McCain campaign and the RNC.
The latest Obama campaign release is after the jump.
Obama Campaign Announces Vote for Change Co-Chairs
50-state voter registration drive kicks off on Saturday
CHICAGO, IL—Senator Barack Obama today announced the national co-chairs of Vote for Change, the Obama campaign’s 50-state voter registration drive. The fourteen co-chairs—leaders in government, the labor movement, the arts, and the faith community—will oversee the program’s efforts and act as surrogates to boost participation across the country.
“Barack Obama started his career as a community organizer in Chicago, working with communities devastated by plant closings, and after law school he returned to those neighborhoods to register new voters,” co-chair Melissa Etheridge said. “From the beginning of his career, he’s made change happen by enfranchising people at the grassroots, and that’s what Vote for Change is all about.”
“I’ve seen what can happen when everyday people feel like they have a stake in something bigger than themselves—and that they have the power to bring about real change,” co-chair Maria Elena Durazo said. “If we’re going to overcome the challenges we face as a nation, we’re going to need every American to participate in the process.”
“Everywhere I go, people feel the same urgency to get this country back on track,” Governor Deval Patrick said. “We need to restore some sense to our tax code. We need to end our dependence on foreign oil and help relieve the burden of soaring energy prices. And we need to end this misguided war. The larger our coalition in November, the stronger our mandate for change will be.”
Vote for Change National Co-Chairs
U.S. Representative John Barrow, 12th District, Georgia
U.S. Representative Melissa Bean, 8th District, Illinois
Anna Burger, Chair, Change to Win
Maria Elena Durazo, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Melissa Etheridge, Musician
Billy Frank Jr., Chairman, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Reverend Joseph Lowery, Chairman, Black Leadership Forum
Dave Matthews, Musician
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Missouri
Secretary Norman Mineta, Former Secretary of Transportation
Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts
Usher Raymond IV, Musician
U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez, 39th District, California
Kerry Washington, Actress
You can learn more about Vote for Change by clicking on this link: . The site has information about the 101 Vote for Change registration kick-off events on May 10, and also allows visitors from all 50 states to fill out a mail-in voter registration form, volunteer to register others to votes, and invite others to take part in the program.